There are no standard passenger services running today - The next service will be on Saturday 15th May 2021 using the Reopening Timetable

Santa Specials

This event has no upcoming dates

    A snowy Santa Special train
    Santa waving from the window of a steam engine
    Santa with his elves
    Magician entertaining passengers
    Beautifully decorate Bury Bolton Street Station
    Sing along with the brass band
    Santa and Bag
    Caption: Santa modelling one of our souvenir tote bags


    ***Looking for seats? Use our handy Seat Checker document to search for seats together. This document was last updated on 18 December.***

    NEW FOR 2019

    Here at the East Lancashire Railway, we're always looking for ways to make our great events even greater, and our Santa Specials are no different! This year, our elves have been busy spreading even more sparkle, and have come up with some exciting new additions to your festive family day out. The giveaway plastic ‘carrier’ is replaced with a beautifully branded ELR re-usable drawstring bag. Children will also be provided with a chocolate lolly and bespoke Activity Pack - the perfect souvenir!


    "Smiles will be beaming

    And locos will be steaming

    When Christmas is near!

    It's the most wonderful time of the year!"


    Start your celebrations in style with a steam train ride with Santa and his team of happy helpers, a Christmas tradition for many in the North West.


    • Take a steam train ride to Rawtenstall and back through the Irwell Valley
    • Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere provided by a traditional brass band and carol singing
    • Admire the beautifully decorated Bury Bolton Street Station with its hundreds of Christmas trees
    • Say hello to costumed characters on your journey
    • Be mesmerized by our on-board magician
    • Meet Santa and his elves as they travel through the train giving a gift to each child
    • Receive a chocolate lolly*, juice drink and bespoke Activity Pack* for children and a mince pie and festive tipple for grown-ups
    • Take home an ELR branded drawstring bag* for children - the perfect souvenir of your special day out
    • Hunt for hidden clues in Bury Transport Museum with the Great Christmas Treasure Hunt
    *NEW FOR 2019


    Each year around 40,000 people enjoy a Santa Specials experience, Here's what a few of them have to say**:

    • "An absolutely brilliant start to Christmas 2018 with our grandchildren"
    • "Great for a Christmas treat for the kids. We went on the train and my son saw santa and got a pressie - loved it."
    • "The children and adults loved every minute. We will definitely be back next year. Well done to everyone involved."
    • "Booked this trip on the Santa Express early because I knew how popular it gets. Perfect Christmas day out for the children."
    • "We have been on other Santa specials this is by far the best and would recommend staff and volunteers gave a real Lancashire welcome."

    **Reviews are from 2018's "Santa Specials" event and were posted on Tripadvisor


    Choose your date and time from the table below and click the highlighted text to book online. If you would prefer to book via phone, please call our Santa Specials Ticket Hotline on 0343 208 1858.

    19 Dec     11:10  12:00  12:50  13:40  14:30  15:20  16:10  17:00 17:50
    20 Dec     11:10  12:00  12:50  13:40  14:30  15:20  16:10  17:00 17:50
    21 Dec 09:30 10:20  11:10  12:00  12:50  13:40  14:30  15:20  16:10     
    22 Dec 09:30 10:20  11:10 12:00  12:50  13:40  14:30  15:20  16:10     
    23 Dec 09:30 10:20  11:10  12:00  12:50  13:40  14:30  15:20  16:10     
    24 Dec 09:30 10:20 11:10  12:00 12:50 13:40           

    Availability: Green = Good Availability, Orange = Limited Availability, Red = Few Seats Left, Dark Red = Sold Out

    ***SEAT AVAILABILITY CHECKER: You can find out how many seats are left on each train here. This document was last updated on 18 December and was accurate at the time of publication. ***

    Please note that all trains will leave on time. We recommend you arrive at Bury Bolton Street Station 30 minutes before your Santa Special departure time. Please allow time for travelling and parking, especially in Bury as traffic can be quite congested at this time of year. Passengers must sit in the seats that they have booked.


    Date Adult Child (aged 0 - 17) Adult with Child Under 3 (child unseated) 
    14 - 15 Dec £21.00 £21.00 £32.00
    19 - 20 Dec £22.00 £22.00 £33.00
    21 - 23 Dec £23.00 £23.00 £34.00
    24 Dec £25.00 £25.00 £36.00


    The child's ticket age category indicates the age appropriate gift given by Santa. If your child is at the upper end of an age category, please consider moving them to the next category to ensure they receive an appropriate gift.

    • Under 3
    • 3 - 5 Years
    • 6  9 Years
    • 10 - 13 Years
    • 14 - 17 Years


    The East Lancashire Railway is located in the heart of Bury, easily accessible by all forms of transport.

    By Car:

    Major road links, including M60, M62 and M66, and parking are near to Bury Bolton Street Station. Bury Bolton Street Station Car Park has limited space, however Bury boasts a number of other facilities close to the station. Charges apply. A map of all car parks will be added to our website shortly.

    By Park & Ride:

    Park for free at our Heywood Station Car Park (OL10 1NH) and take the diesel Heywood Shuttle (see below) to Bury. There are regular shuttle services to and from Bury Bolton Street Station allowing sufficient time to see the sights and visit the shop. Please note that selected Shuttle trains also make the journey to Burrs Country Park Station. Please see the timetable for details.

    By Public Transport:

    Bury Interchange provides both bus and tram services throughout Greater Manchester and is just a few minutes' walk from Bury Bolton Street Station. 

    Heywood Shuttle

    Shuttle Times

    Download the Santa Shuttle timetable here.

    Shuttle Prices 

      Advance BookingPay on Day
    Adult £1.00 £2.00
    Child 50p  £1.00

    Please note that Heywood Shuttle tickets purchased online are valid all day.


    The East Lancashire Railway welcomes people of all abilities and we strive to make sure we are easily accessible to everyone. Therefore, we encourage you to get in touch if you any questions or requirements, and we will do our best to help you plan your visit. You can contact us on 0333 320 2830 (and press option two twice) or email us at:

    All of our stations offer step-free access, and on most services we carry a ramp to allow step-free access to our trains. Disabled toilet facilities are available on most operating days at Bury, Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Heywood Stations as well as Bury Transport Museum. If you have any questions or further requirements, please get in touch.

    To download…

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    Visit England - Quality Assured Visitor Attraction Greater Manchester's Transport Heritage East Lancashire Railway Preservation Society Pennine Telecom The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service  We're Good To Go - Visit England 2020 Travellers Choice - Tripadvisor
    © The East Lancashire Railway 2014 - 2021. All rights reserved.
    The East Lancashire Light Railway Company Limited registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Bolton Street Station, Bolton Street, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0EY Registered number: 02023981